:: Grief makes the heart / apparent as much as sudden happiness can. — Jack Gilbert
Chief Operating Officer
Research Medical Center
2316 E. Meyer Blvd.
Kansas City, MO 64132
April 11, 2013
Dear Mr. Sogard,
I have been following the story of Research Medical Center’s treatment of Roger Gorley and his life partner, Allen, since the incidents at the hospital transpired. Both men’s rights were violated. Roger was unable to provide care for Allen in the manner agreed to within their relationship and supported by Roger’s power of attorney. Similarly, Allen was not able to receive the care and support he needed from the person entrusted with that care.
As someone who is also in a lifelong partnership with a person I deeply love, I can tell you right now that I too would have a strong reaction if a relative of my partner ever did what Allen’s brother did, not only interfering with my partner’s care but also barring me from being the caretaker I had the right to be. Let’s hope you never put me and my life partner in that position and that I am never led from your hospital in handcuffs. This is an opportunity for you to rethink your strategies and approaches in handling situations such as this one so that you don’t act first and discover the truth later, including the truth about who is entitled by law to be present with and for a patient and who is entitled to direct that patient’s care.
Most likely, I would never end up in that position because my life partner is male and I am female. I suspect you won’t ask me for a copy of my marriage certificate if I ever have to bring my husband to your emergency room. But just to be on the safe side, I am making two copies of it right now: one for my wallet and one for his. Apparently, you can never be too careful here in Missouri. It is the Show-Me State after all.
And Research Medical Center has really shown us. It’s shown us a past I thought we had left behind. Now I see that we aren’t in the clear yet. Instances like this remind me that we are in the midst of it with regard to fighting for equality for all people, regardless of who they love, honor and cherish.
Dana Guthrie Martin
I am feeling the pull of silence again as my husband and I navigate recent changes in our lives, namely moving back to the city we once called home. In the chaos of moving across the country, selling one home and buying another, dealing with unexpected new-home problems, and learning of our dog’s kidney issues, the silence I had been cultivating was replaced by noise.
I keep asking myself, When will there ever be time for silence? I already know the answer to that question: When I make time. So, I am making time. To start off, I commit to spending twenty-three hours a day in quiet and in meditation. I will devote the other hour to mindful and measured verbal communication with my husband. My writing will be unrestricted but will be limited to that which does no harm and which stems from a benevolence of intent.
I sense that there are more changes on the way for my husband and me. Rather than ruminate or fixate on what those changes might be, I will take care now to cultivate silence in preparation for the noise that might lie ahead.
We don’t choose our cards, but we choose how to lay them down.
This week, I will focus on what I can do with the life I’ve been given, as opposed to pining for another set of life circumstances. I will not dwell in the past as a form of rumination or as a source of frustration, anger, resentment or shame. I will make of the present what I can and leave tomorrow for tomorrow, knowing I cannot determine the future any more than I can change the past.
This week, I will neither count my blessings in a misguided act of nostalgia that separates me from the present, nor will I tally the ways in which I perceive the world has failed me. I will remain committed to doing what I can from this position — from where my forty-one years on earth have led me. I am here, now, and I will act like it.
Image Credit :: Time to Dance, by J.Sutt
Pullquote Credit :: Christopher Howell